Zynga tells employees to give their stock back or be fired

Zynga, the company that made FarmVille and other Facebook games that lure stay-at-home moms into poverty and ruin, wants to go IPO and feels that some of the stock they’ve given their employees should be returned. Or else.

It’s not unusual for a company to hand out stock to supplement salaries if the salaries aren’t as high as they should be but the company is struggling. Zynga did exactly this not too long ago… but now they’re asking for those shares back again, and not in the nice way.┬áCEO Mark Pincus and others at the top end of Zynga decided that they want to go IPO, and that maybe they’d given away a bit too much stock to employees. They then demanded that it be returned, and employees who didn’t would be fired. They began by targeting employees who they felt weren’t really worth the extra stock-based payment and leaning on them to give it back.

After finding people to target, the Journal’s sources say, Pincus offered his ultimatum. However, as one might expect, he faced some anger from employees who didn’t believe they should be required to give back the stock. The Journal cited two employees–one who has left Zynga and another who still works with the company–who hired attorneys to reach a settlement that saw them give up some, but not all, of the unvested shares.

I think it’s a little naive to think that all companies are going to treat their employees fairly and act honorably towards them. The reason I’m surprised to see this story surface is because I can’t believe Zynga didn’t look ahead enough to know that their jerk behavior would be plastered all over the web. It’s one thing to be a scrooge of a boss. It’s another to be a bad strategist. Business (lamentably) sometimes forgives the former, but never the latter.

Source: CNET

Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio